Tuesday, December 3, 2013


YEAR:  1972
LABEL:  Peter Pan Records
TRACK LISTING:  Snoopy's Christmas,  Santa Claus For President (And Christmas All Year Round),  Children of the World Unite Tonight,  Who Stole the Mistletoe? (The Nose Knows),  We Wish You A Merry Christmas,  Jingle Bell Rock,  Travelin' Man,  Christmas Eve In Sloopyville,  Superstar,  The Happiest Time of the Year
IMPRESSIONS:  Once again we delve into the Christmas kiddie wayback machine and look at one of those Peter Pan Christmas records I had as a kid.  Just like "The Bunny Hoppers" Christmas LP "THE CHIPMUNK SONG" I posted about a couple years ago, this and another "SNOOPY'S CHRISTMAS" children's record were purchased by my grandmother when we were food shopping at the surely long-defunct Holiday supermarket.  Clocking in at under 24 minutes, this is a shorty but a goody which I played endlessly when I was growing up.  The Peppermint Kandy Kids, of course, were whatever studio musicians and singers Peter Pan Records were using that week and they cover the Royal Guardsmen's earlier hit single "Snoopy's Christmas" which gave it's name to this album.  However, it appears Peter Pan Records were only allowed to use the Peanuts character names in the eponymous title track as, wherever else they appear, the names are changed. F'rinstance, in "Who Stole the Mistletoe", Charlie Brown's name is changed to "Harley" and Schroeder's to "Roeder" - and the very title of "Christmas Eve In Sloopyville" shows Snoopy's name change as well.
I always liked the hushed, almost-spooky atmosphere of "Children of the World, Unite Tonight"; the picture I always got in my mind's eye was of a Currier & Ives frosted window pane in the dark of night with a lone candle burning as a child's face looks out hoping to catch a glimpse of Santa's sleigh. Hilariously, this rather subdued version of "Children of the World, Unite Tonight" has a raucous, faster counterpart on the aforementioned "Bunny Hoppers" Christmas record; the song title is exactly the same but the song itself is totally different.  Then there's, what to me always sounded like, the faux-Peggy Lee style vocal on "Travelin' Man" with the added lounge-singer whistling bridge!  "Superstar" obviously mirrors the time of the record's release (1972) when "JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR" was very popular; just substitute Santa as the eponymous superstar of the song and you have a hippy idea transformed by the extremely straight, white-bread style of the Peppermint Kandy Kids singers!  The album also includes a version of "JINGLE BELL ROCK" which is a cover of the exact song you think it is but then there's the inclusion of "WE WISH YOU A MERRY CHRISTMAS" which is definitely not the song you think it is at all!
MY FAVOURITE TRACKS:  Snoopy's Christmas,  Children of the World Unite Tonight,  Who Stole the Mistletoe? (The Nose Knows),  We Wish You A Merry Christmas,  Travelin' Man
FACT SHEET:  SNOOPY'S CHRISTMAS is a children's Christmas record released by Peter Pan Records in 1972.  The "Santa/Snoopy/Red Baron/Whatever It Is" figure seen on the cover is actually a gatefold cutout Christmas decoration which had a perforated edge so kiddies could tear it off and hang it on the wall; once you did this, however, the image still appeared underneath so the album cover looks identical with or without it.  The album cover art was drawn by the legendary kid's records cover artist George Peed.  In 1977, Peter Pan Records re-recorded the entire album with different versions of each of the songs linked together as a story; this version is actually available on iTunes and is godawful!

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